Brazil beef execs urge new sales deals

Execs want to cut dependance on China
calendar icon 11 August 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Beef industry executives in Brazil, the world's biggest exporter of that protein, said on Thursday it is paramount that local companies are able to access new markets in order reduce dependence on Chinese import demand, reported Reuters.

Eduardo Pedroso, cattle origination director at JBS SA, said during a panel discussion that China alone buys what both Japan and South Korea import, referring to markets Brazil aims to access through government trade deals.

At the moment, Japan and South Korea are primarily served by Australian beefpackers.

Pedroso also noted that Brazilian beefpackers can comply with any requirements that may be imposed by importers.

China is the main destination of Brazilian beef and many other food staples. JBS, the world's largest meat company, sent about 26% of its global exports to China last year.

While selling to China helped "professionalize" relations between processors and cattle ranchers in Brazil, Pedroso said access to new markets is "vital for the survivor of our sector."

Sergio de Zen, market intelligence director at rival Minerva, said China's beef consumption is still considered low.

He, however, noted this is gradually changing as younger Chinese consumers eat more beef than previous generations.

During the pandemic, global economic stimulus spurred demand and meat consumption exploded. However, De Zen said, that created inflation and subsequently higher interest rates, hurting demand in the aftermath of the global health crisis.

"China had a boom of beef consumption," De Zen said. As interest rates rose to rein in prices, consumers started buying less. 

"China was not immune" to this phenomenon, De Zen added.

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